This uniquely flavorful cocktail is the brainchild of Rachel Markoja, bartender at Little River Restoratives in Hartford. Rachel says: "I combined tequila and a smoky mezcal with common holiday food items — peas, carrots and peppers. I thought it was a fun and surprising way to incorporate aspects of the meal into the drink. The ice cube is made from peas, and as it melts, it progressively changes the flavor of the drink. Each sip will have a different flavor than the last."

To make this recipe you will need to make and freeze the ice cubes by the night before. The syrup will also need to be made at least by the night before, but will also keep a week or two in the refrigerator if made in advance.

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Mind Your Peas & Qs

Serves: 1

Prep time: Rock ice (freeze overnight), Syrup (30 minutes), cocktail (2 minutes)

Bar items needed: Rocks glass, shaker, Hawthorne strainer and mesh strainer

INGREDIENTS

Snap pea rock ice

  • 2 cups snap peas
  • 2 cups water

Carrot-red bell pepper syrup

  • 3 cups water
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1½ red bell pepper, chopped

Other ingredients

  • 1 ounce Patrón Silver 
  • 1 ounce Ilegal Mezcal Joven 
  • 1 ounce carrot-red bell pepper syrup 
  • ¾ ounces fresh lime 
  • Garnish: snap pea rock ice

DIRECTIONS

Make the snap pea rock ice

Add peas and water to a blender and blend until smooth. Strain and discard pulp. Pour liquid into large-format ice cube trays. Freeze overnight.

Make the syrup

Heat water until almost boiling. Slowly add sugar, mixing until clear and completely dissolved. Take off heat and add carrot and pepper. Allow to steep overnight and strain the vegetables out. Syrup will keep for 1-2 weeks in refrigerator.

To serve

Shake the syrup (1 ounce) and the remaining ingredients over ice in a mixing tin. Double-strain over snap pea ice cubes. 


Q&A with Chef Rachel Markoja

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Rachel Markoja, bartender at Little River Restoratives in Hartford

What’s your fondest memory of a holiday meal?

About 10 years ago, my Nana got my entire extended family together for Christmas in Hawaii. Everyone came from all over the country and it was the first and only time we have all celebrated together. I will never forget it!

Tips on using local ingredients in holiday meals?

Growing up in Cheshire there were a ton of local farms that my family and I would visit for fruits and veggies. As an adult I also love sourcing local meats and cocktail ingredients. An important thing I keep in mind when buying from businesses is how sustainable they are and also if they have a positive impact on their communities.

When preparing a holiday feast, is it better to be a traditionalist or an innovator?

I love traditional menu items with an innovative, modern twist. My dad is the main chef in our family and he’s pretty old school with the main courses for holidays (turkey, duck, beef Wellington). My sisters and I always mix up the apps and sides we bring to make it interesting. Each year our charcuterie board appetizer gets bigger and crazier. Looking forward to this holiday season to see what everyone comes up with!

Rachel Markola on Instagram: @ctginqueen

This article appears in the November 2020 issue of Connecticut MagazineYou can subscribe to Connecticut Magazine here, or find the current issue on sale hereSign up for our newsletter to get our latest and greatest content delivered right to your inbox. Have a question or comment? Email editor@connecticutmag.com. And follow us on Facebook and Instagram @connecticutmagazine and Twitter @connecticutmag.